Ventura talks to Daily about youth vote, rise of third parties

Erin Ghere

After speaking to more than 400 students on Northrop Mall about the importance of voting, Gov. Jesse Ventura talked to The Minnesota Daily staff about the election, youth voter turnout and the Independence Party.
With only five days before the election, Minnesota and the University have become hotbeds for political activity. Both Democratic Vice President Al Gore and Republican Texas Gov. George W. Bush have held Twin Cities rallies in the past four days, in a last ditch effort to capture Minnesota’s swing voters.
With the election a statistical dead heat and the race the closest in 30 years, Minnesota votes have become ones to fight over. Traditionally, the state has voted Democratic and Ventura said he thinks the same will happen this year.
Although Ventura said will not endorse a presidential candidate, Lt. Gov. Mae Schunk did so on Saturday at a Gore rally in downtown Minneapolis.
She consulted with him first, and he said he assured her that she would not be causing him any trouble and gave his blessing.
Ventura’s stop at the University was one of five, he said, on a tour of college campuses — including Minnesota State University-Mankato, St. Cloud State University, Bemidji State University and the University of Minnesota-Duluth — in an effort to get young people out to the voting booths on Nov. 7.
“Vote for the person you think most represents you,” he explained.
The point of view is opposite recent campus visitors supporting Democratic candidate Gore, who are asking supporters of Green Party candidate Ralph Nader to vote for Gore in an effort to beat Bush.
“It’s the typical Democrat-Republican idea that they’re the only two (parties) that count,” Ventura said.
The self-described centrist said he probably wouldn’t be voting for Nader or Gore, explaining that they are both too leftist for him.
Ventura said the candidate closest to his position is Natural Law Party nominee John Hagelin. But, he added, there is no candidate in this election who truly excites him or completely agrees with his beliefs.
Ventura said he thinks state Independence Party candidates — two of which are running to represent the West Bank area — will do well this election.
Even a small number of wins constitute a gain for the party, he explained.
“We’re a baby party,” he said, adding Rome wasn’t built in a day.
Former DFLer and Ramsey County Commissioner Tom Foley, who is running for the Fourth District U.S. Congress seat, has one of the party’s best shots to win, Ventura added.